ArtworksThumbnails
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THE PROPELLER GROUP 
The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
2014
Single Channel Film, 3840 x 2160, 25fps, Color, 5.1
Surround Sound Film still

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THE PROPELLER GROUP 
The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
2014 
Single Channel Film, 3840 x 2160, 25fps, Color, 5.1 
Surround Sound Film still

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THE PROPELLER GROUP 
The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
2014 
Single Channel Film, 3840 x 2160, 25fps, Color, 5.1 
Surround Sound Film still

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THE PROPELLER GROUP 
The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
2014 
Single Channel Film, 3840 x 2160, 25fps, Color, 5.1 
Surround Sound Film still

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Ak47 vs. M16
2015
Fragments of AK-47 and M16 bullets, ballistics gel, custom vitrine, and digital video
7 1/8 x 16 7/8 x 7 1/4 in.

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
AK47 vs. M16 (detail)
2015 
Fragments of AK-47 and M16 bullets, ballistics gel, custom vitrine, and digital video
7 1/8 x 16 7/8 x 7 1/4 in.

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
AK47 vs. M16
2015
Installation view, Grand Arts, Kansas City
 

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Ak47 vs. M16 (film still)
2015 
Fragments of AK-47 and M16 bullets, ballistics gel, custom vitrine, and digital video
7 1/8 x 16 7/8 x 7 1/4 in.

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Antique Dragon Spacecraft
2016 
Jackfruit wood and antique jackfruit wood column from "princess" house
90 x 125 x 130 cm
 

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Antique Earth Satellite
2016 
Trắcwood and jackfruit wood
207 x 50 x 40 cm

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Space Antique Debris
2016
Trắcwood, resin, 6th century glass bead, LED light
27 x 20 x 20 cm

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Space Antique Debris (top view)
2016 
Trắcwood, resin, 6th century glass bead, LED light
27 x 20 x 20 cm

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
The Guerrillas of Cu Chi
2012 
2-channel synchronized video installation
20:04 min.
2048 x 1152. 25p. Color. Stereo.
720 x 576. 25p. BW. Mono.
 

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Television Commercial For Communism
2011 
5-channel video installation
Synchronized. 60 min. 1920 x 1080. 25p. Color. 5.1 surround sound.
Television commercial animatic: 60 sec.
2014 x 1152. 25p. Color. Stereo.

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THE PROPELLER GROUP
Television Commercial For Communism
2011 
5-channel video installation
Synchronized. 60 min. 1920 x 1080. 25p. Color. 5.1 surround sound.
Television commercial animatic: 60 sec.
2014 x 1152. 25p. Color. Stereo.

Artist BioDownload Bio English PDF
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Photo: Courtesy of The Propeller Group

The Propeller Group (TPG) is a collective based in Ho Chi Minh City and founded in 2006 by Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Nguyen. Their multimedia works use the languages of advertising and politics to initiate conversations about power, propaganda and manipulation, especially as they relate to fallen Communist dictatorships and the rapid rise of capitalism in Vietnam and beyond. 

 

TPG became well-known for their 2011 advertising parody Television Commercial For Communism, included in the New Museum’s Ungovernables 2012 Triennial exhibition. The work considers the contradictions and tensions between two disparate eco-political systems. For the work, TPG hired a global advertising firm to create an advertising campaign to market Communist ideology through capitalist means. 

 

The group’s 2014 film The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, created for Prospect. 3 New Orleans Biennial, is a poetic voyage through the funeral traditions of South Vietnam and engages the striking similarity between these rituals and those from around the rest of the Global south, especially New Orleans. The film combines documentary footage of actual funeral processions along with vivid re-enactments; the film is a poetic rumination on death and the ways in which the living honor the dead.

 

“In many of our projects, we try to create disorder, hoping that disorder in such particular instances can become another sense of order to an audience that may be all too afraid of change or unable to accept other possible ways of engaging with current social structures. We like to play. We align ourselves with different cultural producers. We like to let ourselves get ingested into the bellies of big social beasts such as television, advertising, or the various manifestations of pop-culture.” –The Propeller Group

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The AK47 vs. The M16 (2015), Fragments of AK-47 and M16 bullets, ballistics gel, and custom vitrine, 7 1/8 x 16 7/8 x 7 1/4 in.

In June 2016, TPG’s first survey exhibition will open at MCA Chicago and will travel to the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston and then to Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition is co-organized by MCA Chicago, the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston and the Phoenix Art Museum and has an accompanying catalog.

 

TPG's work has been featured in the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Sweden; the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy; and will be the subject of solo exhibitions at Grand Arts, MO and the Carnegie Museum of Art, PA. Past group exhibitions and international biennials for TPG include: Prospect.3: Notes for Now, New Orleans, LA; Residual: Disrupted Choreographies, Carre d’Art, France (2014); No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY (2013); 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; The Unseen, Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, China; Six Lines Of Flight, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Made In LA, Los Angeles Biennial, Hammer Museum, CA; The Ungovernables, New Museum, NY (2012); Project 35, Independent Curators International, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NY; (2011); Projects 93, Museum of Modern Art, NY; 8th Shanghai Biennale, in collaboration with Superflex, China (2010); What’s the Big Idea?, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, CA (2009); The Farmers & the Helicopters, Freer & Sackler, Smithsonian, Washington DC, (2008); and the Lyon Biennial, The History of a Decade That Has Not Yet Been Named, France (2007).

 

TPG’s work is included in collections of the Guggenheim Museum, NY; MoMA, NY; LACMA, CA; Carnegie Museum, PA; New Orleans Museum of Art; Speed Museum, Louisville, KY; Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, AU; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; and Singapore Art Museum.

 

In addition to TPG’s work as a collective, each member is involved in their individual pursuits. Phunam (b. 1974) was trained as a restorer of Khmer and Vietnamese stone and bronze antique sculptures. He is a self-taught cinematographer who has produced television commercials, music videos, documentaries, short films and television dramas. Matt Lucero (b. 1976) has a background in physics and received his MFA from the California Institute of Art and has been widely exhibited. Tuan Nguyen (b. 1976) received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and is one of the founders of San Art, an artist initiated exhibition space in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Exhibitions
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Gallery Exhibition
The Propeller Group
The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
291 GRAND ST NYC | APR 8 - MAY 15, 2016
New York
Press / Media
Articles / Reviews
ArtAsiaPacific
"The Propeller Group," by Sheila Regan
Articles / Reviews
Hyperallergic
"On Combing a Museum’s Collection for Objects that Deal with Death," by Sheila Regan
Articles / Reviews
Artforum
Exhibition Review: The Propeller Group
Articles / Reviews
Art in America
Exhibition Review: The Propeller Group
Articles / Reviews
art4d
"The Propeller Group"
Articles / Reviews
The Wall Street Journal
"Vietnamese Artists Take an Edgy Approach," by Kelly Crow
Articles / Reviews
ARTNews
"Where the Dead Don't Stay Dead: The Propeller Group at James Cohan, New York," by Lilly Wei
Articles / Reviews
The New York Times
"The Lower East Side as Petri Dish," by Roberta Smith
Articles / Reviews
The New York Times
"The Propeller Group Brings a Phantasmagorical Vietnam to James Cohan," by Frank Rose
Articles / Reviews
Artsy
"The Propeller Group’s Gorgeous New Show Captures Beauty in Death and Ballistics," by Jared Quinton
Articles / Reviews
Canvas
"The AK-47 vs. the M16: The Propeller Group, All the World’s Future - Arsenale"
Articles / Reviews
Anyarena
"The Propeller Group's Bullets at the Biennale"
Articles / Reviews
Art Asia Pacific
Playing with Guns and Balistics Gel: Interview with the Propeller Groups’ Matt Lucero
Articles / Reviews
Artsy
“5 Names You’ll Know after the Venice Biennale”
Articles / Reviews
Artnews
“The Propeller Group Goes to James Cohan Gallery,” by Hannah Ghorashi
Articles / Reviews
ArtAsiaPacific
“Prospect.3: Notes for Now in New Orleans,” by Paul Laster
Articles / Reviews
The Times-Picayune
“The Propeller Group’s Prospect.3 exhibit wows St. Claude Avenue,” by Doug MacCash
Articles / Reviews
The New Orleans Advocate
“Top Five Prospect.3 moments,” by John D’Addario
Articles / Reviews
DAILY SERVING
“Prospect.3 New Orleans,” by Tori Bush
Articles / Reviews
Artinfo
“Searching New Orleans During Prospect.3,” by Scott Indrisek
Articles / Reviews
The Village Voice
“The Propeller Group Take on the Art World's Celebrity Fixation,” by Christian Viveros-Faune
Articles / Reviews
Hyperallergic
“The Propeller Group Lands in New York,” by Ellen Pearlman
Articles / Reviews
Time Out New York
“Time Out says”
Articles / Reviews
The Huffington Post
“The Propeller Group Is On Our Radar: Multimedia Art Trio Talks Communism, ‘Argo’ And Graffiti,” by Katherine Brooks
Articles / Reviews
Bomb Magazine
“The Propeller Group,” by Diane Mehta
News
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Museum Exhibition
After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History
September 8, 2017 - January 21, 2018
New York, New York
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Museum Exhibition
Islands, Constellations and Galapagos
August 4 - November 5, 2017
Yokohama, Japan
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Museum Exhibition
As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics
April 13 - August 27, 2017
Dublin, Ireland
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Museum Exhibition
Co-produced by MoMA New York, and Science Gallery, Dublin
October 14, 2016 - January 22, 2017
Science Gallery, Dublin
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News / Events
Screening: The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music
October 15, 2016
Oakland, CA
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Museum Exhibition
Ascendant Artists: The Propeller Group
June 4 - November 13, 2016
Chicago, Illinois
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Artist Talk/Lecture
Artist Talk
June 4, 3-4 PM and June 28, 12-1 PM
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
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News / Events
Artists' Film Biennial curated by Ahmet Ögüt
May 27, 8:30 PM
London, United Kingdom
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Museum Exhibition
Street Views: A Universe of Collisions
January 15 - April 3, 2016
St. Louis, Missouri
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Museum Exhibition
The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music
October 23, 2015 - February 15, 2016
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Museum Exhibition
September 12 - November 22, 2015
Göteborg, Sweden
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Museum Exhibition
Solo Exhibition
August 7 - September 5, 2015
Kansas City, MISSOURI
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Museum Exhibition
la Biennale di Venezia
May 9 – November 22, 2015
Venice, Italy
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Museum Exhibition
“Prospect.3: Notes for Now”
October 25, 2014 - January 25, 2015
New Orleans, Louisiana